Buddhism Lecture 5: Doctrine of Tri-Kaya and The Heart Sutra


My fifth lecture begins with a discussion of the Doctrine of Tri-Kaya, or the triple body of the Buddha, followed by a brief comparison of trinities also found in Christianity and Hinduism. The lecture ends with discussing shunyata, or emptiness, a reading of the Heart Sutra, and a discussion of its import for Mahayana Buddhism.








The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, while moving in the deep recourse of Perfect Understanding, shed light on the five skandhas and found them equally empty. After this penetration, he overcame all pain.

Listen Shariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true with sensation, perceptions, volition, and consciousness. Hear, Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor immaculate, neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore, in emptiness there is neither form, nor feeling, nor perception nor mental formations, nor consciousness; no eye, no ear, or nose, or tongue, or body, or mind, or form, no sound no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realms of elements; no co-dependent arising and no extinction; no suffering, no arising of suffering, no cessation of suffering, no path; no understanding, no attainment.

Because there is no attainment, the bodhisattvas, supported by the Perfection of Understanding, find no obstacles in their minds. Having no obstacles, they overcome fear, liberating themselves forever from illusion and realizing perfect Nirvana. All Buddhas in the past, present, and future, thanks to this Perfect Understanding, arrive at full, right, and universal Enlightenment.

Therefore, one should know that Perfect Understanding is a great mantra, is the highest mantra, is the unequaled mantra, the destroyer of all suffering, the incorruptible truth. A mantra of Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Understanding) should therefore be proclaimed. This is the mantra: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha!



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